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Factsheet for measure EU-2021-27/2005 – measures in European Union

The new EU OSH Strategy draws lessons from the current pandemic

Country European Union , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 28 June 2021 – 31 December 2027
Context COVID-19
Type Other initiatives or policies
Category Protection of workers, adaptation of workplace
– Occupational health and safety
Author Barbara Surdykowska and Eurofound
Measure added 10 September 2021 (updated 28 September 2021)

Background information

On 28 June 2021 the Commission has adopted the EU strategic framework on health and safety at work (OSH) 2021-2027. The strategy sets out the key actions needed to improve workers' health and safety over the coming years.

It took place in the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic that has shown how crucial OSH is for protecting workers' health, functioning of society, and for the continuity of critical economic and social activities. Therefore one of the three three cross-cutting objectives is increasing preparedness for any potential future crises.

Content of measure

Objective 3.

Drawing lessons from the current pandemic, the Commission will develop emergency procedures and guidance for the rapid deployment, implementation and monitoring of measures in potential future health crises, in close cooperation with public-health actors. In particular, the Commission will take the following steps:

  • Start an in-depth impact assessment of the pandemic and the effectiveness of the EU and national OSH framework immediately to develop contingency procedures and guidelines for the rapid deployment, implementation and monitoring of measures in potential future health crises, in close collaboration with public health actors.
  • Updated Commission Recommendation on Occupational Diseases to include COVID-19 by 2022.
  • Develop by 2022 guidelines for labor inspectors on quality assessment of risk assessments and risk management measures under the Biological Agents Directive.

In turn, the Member States were called upon to:

  • Developing preparedness plans for future crises in national OSH strategies, including the implementation of EU guidelines and tools.
  • Developing coordination mechanisms between public health and OSH authorities by 2023.
  • Increasing the monitoring and effective control of OSH obligations for seasonal workers with high-risk occupations.
  • Strengthening cooperation and information exchange between labor inspectorates and other competent national authorities in order to improve health and safety standards in all employment sectors.

Use of measure

The strategy concerns all EU workers.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Applies to all workers Applies to all businesses Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
EU level social partners
EU (Council, EC, EP)
European Funds
National funds

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Consulted Consulted
Form Consultation through tripartite or bipartite social dialogue bodies Consultation through tripartite or bipartite social dialogue bodies

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • Social partners jointly
  • Main level of involvement: EU level


Social partners were involved through consultations within the Management Board of European Agency for Safety and Health at Work.

Views and reactions

There were no negative views on the presented strategy.


  • 28 June 2021: Communication: EU strategic framework on health and safety at work 2021-2027 Occupational safety and health in a changing world of work (COM(2021) 323 final) (


Eurofound (2021), The new EU OSH Strategy draws lessons from the current pandemic, measure EU-2021-27/2005 (measures in European Union), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,


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Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.